A love of rugby has meant a young Levin woman gives countless hours of her own time to help facilitate the sport.

Olive Faumiana, 20, is a full-time accounting student at Massey University, yet still finds time to give her weekends and her spare time to the sport she loves.

"I love rugby," she said.

Faumuina was an avid netball player too, until a ghastly injury three years ago kept her sidelined for more than two years as she recovered.


A torn ACL ligament in her knee required intense surgery and also kept her from her new-found passion - rugby refereeing - which she embarked on as a teenager.

Now the injury has had time to heal she is back on the whistle and refereeing a college game at Horowhenua College on Saturday morning, before performing touch judge duties at Levin Domain that afternoon.

The Levin Domain match was a senior game between Rahui and College Old Boys. On a couple of occasions Faumuina was asked by the main referee to judge whether a pass was forward.

On each occasion she was on the spot, and the best person on the field to make a decision, making clear and decisive calls.

Sometimes, in the heat of a tense game of rugby, there were players or supporters that would voice their complaint audibly if a contentious call didn't go their way, forgetting the importance of a referee and the need to show respect.

Faumuina said she didn't let adverse comments bother her and said she preferred to focus on doing her job to the best of her abilities.

"I enjoy it. One hundred per cent," she said.

While she would still love to be playing herself, she managed to watch the All Blacks on television and follow the Hurricanes. Her favourite players are Nani Laumape and Beauden Barrett.


Meanwhile, Horowhenua Rugby Union chief executive Corey Kennett said their organisation was indebted to volunteers like Faumuina.

For Kennett, it was simple. Without the volunteers that sacrifice countless hours of their own time, there was no rugby.

"We are short of volunteers in all areas...coaches, administration, referees...the time they give up is invaluable to us and the game of rugby," he said.

Olive Faumuina did the touchline of the senior match at Levin Domain at the weekend between Rahui and College Old Boys.
Olive Faumuina did the touchline of the senior match at Levin Domain at the weekend between Rahui and College Old Boys.

On most Saturdays referees were adjudicating more than one game. Faumuina would often referee a college game in the morning before being a touch judge in the afternoon.

With the senior reserve grade competition game in the early afternoon, many could do three games.

Kennett said refereeing could be a thankless task at times and all players and supporters should remind themselves of the sacrifices being made by the people in the middle.

"The whole rugby community is indebted to them. When we get an opportunity we need to show them how much we respect them and how important they are," he said.